Anthony Goldwire’s Long Journey Brings Him To Coaching

Photo Courtesy of Anthony Goldwire
Photo Courtesy of Anthony Goldwire /

When thinking of “journeymen” professional athletes, most fans will have players come to mind that played for five or six teams throughout their careers, but former New Jersey Nets guard Anthony Goldwire takes it to a different level.

Playing for more than 20 teams in nine leagues across six different countries, Goldwire has seen just about all there is to see at the professional level. With that knowledge and wisdom that he gained over the course of nearly 15 years as a player, he’s doing what he can to pass it on to younger generations as an assistant coach in the NBA D-League.

Beginning his playing career at the Division 1 level for the University of Houston as a junior college transfer, Goldwire was inserted into a starting role immediately alongside another future NBA player in Bo Outlaw.

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The team jumped out to 21 wins but in the next season, Goldwire’s senior year, a new coach was in place and the team relied more upon freshmen and sophomore players. They dropped all the way down to 8 wins, which certainly wasn’t how he wanted to end his college career.

After his college days came to an end, Goldwire had some regrets about his senior year and worried about how it would impact his draft stock. As he tells Nothin’ But Nets, his junior year may have been a more opportune time to enter the NBA Draft.

“During the pre-draft process I was thinking that I should have come out during my junior year. I had won Newcomer of the Year, we won a lot of games and things were kind of up in the air for me. As I got ready for the draft, I went to a tournament in Phoenix with some other prospects and played well, but I didn’t really know what was going on in terms of my future,” Goldwire said.

As draft day arrived, Goldwire was playing in a pro-am tournament in Houston. While the game was going on, his mom called and told him that he had been drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round with the 52nd overall selection.

With Kevin Johnson and Danny Ainge already making up the backcourt in Phoenix, Goldwire knew that his work would be cut out for him. While he didn’t wind up making the team, he gained valuable experience and made his way to the Yakima Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association.

“I got drafted late in the second round a team in Phoenix that was set at the point guard position. It was great to go to training camp and they wanted me to go somewhere and develop, and I had to switch from being a point guard to a two-guard and get used to playing off of the ball.”

He continued, “I came into a great situation in the CBA with a ton of talented players and they took me under their wing and showed me how to be a pro, we won the CBA championship and it was a great experience. It got me going into camp next year.”

After another season in the CBA, Goldwire got the call that he had been waiting for his entire life. Called midway through the NBA season, Goldwire joined the Charlotte Hornets, a roster that was filled with talented players.

“I just wanted to get a chance to play. In the CBA, I knew I had played well so once they called me I felt like I was ready. Once they called me, I just went in, kept my head down and played.”

With joining the Hornets, Goldwire was able to learn from solid professionals like Kenny Anderson and Dell Curry in the backcourt, as well as other veterans that played elsewhere.

“It was amazing, you see these guys playing when you’re in college and you want to be there with them one day. I had Robert Parish and Muggsy Bogues and all of these guys were celebrities; Larry Johnson just grabs me and takes me under his wing and says he had another guy from Texas. Playing with all of them really helped my career.”

Goldwire was able to do enough to stick on with the team once the following season rolled around, but around halfway through the year he was traded to the Denver Nuggets; a first for his his career. 

“We had drafted another combo-guard in Tony Delk during that offseason, but I went to the Summer League and was the leading scorer there. Allen Bristow, are coach from my first year in Charlotte, left to work in Basketball Operations with Denver and he told me that he wanted me there and I’d have the chance to play, so halfway through the season they made the trade for me.”

He was able to gain consistent playing time over the course of his one-and-a-half years with the team and even scored a career-high 9.2 points per game in his first full season with them. The momentum that he had rolling was derailed however, when the NBA lockout struck and wiped away nearly half of the season.

Spending the offseason with the following NBA season in question, Goldwire chose to jump overseas to play in both Greece and Spain.

“The lockout hit after my breakout year and that prompted me to go overseas to Greece. I took that opportunity and who knows what would have happened if the lockout didn’t happen. Mike D’Antoni who was with the Nuggets at the time, called me while I was in Greece and they told me that I didn’t have an NBA-out in my contract and I wounded up staying there.”

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Those wouldn’t be his only two stops, as he would also go on to play in Italy, Puerto Rico and Russia at different points in his career. Though it was successful for him, it’s not a path that should be taken by everyone.

“Not everyone is able to make the jump from the NBA, or the United States, to Europe or anywhere internationally. You need to go in with an open mind and get used to the culture because if you don’t, you’ll have a horrible experience. I had to be cordial and earn their respect and I did, so it was great for me.”

After stops in the American Basketball Association, back with the Nuggets and going to Italy, Goldwire signed with the San Antonio Spurs early on in the midst of their NBA Championship season. Though he was only there for 10 games, the situation that he was in was vital for his future.

“I was blessed and fortunate for God to have placed me in a situation like that. Pop said that he wanted me to come in and play Tony Parker hard and push him every day in practice. I was fortunate to get a chance to play and it was great to be able to play with Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen and all of those guys. It was a great opportunity.”

After being waived by the Spurs, Goldwire began a relatively unstable process which led to him signing eight ten-day contracts over the course of the next two years. While it was a positive to be in the NBA, there was a bit of pressure involved with that many short-term deals.

“It was very stressful, but after I had went to Greece during the lockout I kind of set myself up to be in that position. I had been offered contracts throughout my time in Spain, but I was in Barcelona, getting good money and playing time and I had the chance to play with the Gasol brothers. With me staying there, a lot of teams around the league didn’t know if I wanted to play in the NBA, so I had to work my way all the way back up. Regardless of where I was though, I love the game so much that I just wanted to play.” 

As he began to reach the tail end of his career, Goldwire shifted into a bit of a mentorship role for the young players on whichever team he was on. While it didn’t necessarily equate to on-court playing time and production, Goldwire filled a void that often goes overlooked on some rebuilding teams.

“Locker room presences are very important because when things are going bad and you’re losing and don’t want to practice, you need to show them how to work at practice versus coming in and taking the NBA for granted. I had a lot of games to sit back and watch and I had to have a positive effect and a positive attitude for all of the guys on the team.”

He left the NBA after the 2005-2006 season and went to play internationally for two more seasons before pursuing an assistant coaching position with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2010. It was his first time on the bench as a coach, so there was a bit of a transition that had to be made.

“You have to manage a lot of different egos. Being a good character guy and locker room when I was playing, it made me appreciate what coaches were going through with putting up with some guys that are difficult to work with. Being able to give back to the league and work with guys like Monta Ellis, Tobias Harris and Brandon Knight was a great start for me.”

With Jason Kidd bringing in an all new coaching staff, Goldwire has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League. Once again, there have been some key adjustments that had to be made that have furthered his coaching repertoire.

“In the NBA, I was a player development coach aspiring to be a head coach. In the D-League you wear multiple hats; player development, scouting and you might even have to drive the bus. It gives you a chance to have more of a voice not only to develop players, but to develop yourself into being a head coach one day.”

With six years as a coach now under his belt, Goldwire has his sights set on becoming a head coach at the NBA level in time. While that day may still be a ways away, the time that he has spent around the world and on the bench will be incredibly useful for players around the league.

His career may have went differently than how he would have initially planned, but Anthony Goldwire is set to make a big difference in the coaching world in the coming years.


Quick Questions

Why #5?
I wanted #4 and that was the closest I could get with most teams. I wore 14 in high school, but I wanted a single number in college so I went with 4.

Who was your favorite player growing up?
When I first started watching it was Magic Johnson, but after I had watched for awhile it was Tim Hardaway.

What is something that most fans don’t realize about playing in the NBA?
How difficult it is to actually play and compete against the same level guys night in and night out. The guys in the NBA make it look easy and some people have a false sense of how difficult it is, they don’t know how much work goes in.

If you could go back in time and tell yourself as a player something that you’ve learned as a coach, what would it be?
My career is what it was, but that was the plan for me to get to a certain point and become a coach in the league. I would just tell myself to stay humble and cherish every moment because there’s only 450 guys each year that are able to do what I did.

What was your favorite memory from your time with the Nets?
Playing and watching Jason Kidd every day. They had a great team with Kenyon Martin, Kerry Kittles and Richard Jefferson and Lawrence Frank did a great job of helping me. I worked hard every day in practice and watched Jason and learned from him and saw how they did business. That team went to the Finals and it was easy to see why.

Who is in your all-time starting five?
PG: Magic Johnson
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: Larry Bird
PF: Karl Malone
C: Hakeem Olajuwon